Discussion in 'The Queen of Cups' started by Zin, Jul 7, 2016.
Placeholder for Mutt's Solo Thread.
The world is ending.
In some ways, you're not sure the world was ever real to begin with.
It's almost impossible to tell where the fae start and their lands begin, the whole world is roiling and twisting. Even your fingers seem to be threatening to unravel, your body aching like it might pull apart at the seams just like the world around you.
People are screaming.
You think they're people.
Maybe they aren't.
A misshapen thing of glass with too many arms and legs is shattered as a man atop a wolf swings a great club into the center of their mass, and one of the familiar shapes nearby howls and charges, metal limbs uncoiling as they try to use their own body as a weapon.
The world shakes under your feet, and starts pulling apart, drooping like warm taffy.
Mutt scrambles to more stable ground - at least, it seems more stable at the moment. They stumble to the side to avoid another mass of impossible shapes tearing past them, and cling to a wall that they think is holding up decently well. It crumbles at their touch, but at least they've got one less side to worry about. And at least no one's directly come after them yet.
Trying to stay upright, they pull out a knife and prepare for whatever comes next.
A wall of mist crashes over, salt and spray choking the air before it turns into a hail of lights, spirals up into the air, coalescing into a desperately careening beast that attempts to escape into the air, only for the ground to rise, a massive hand opening in the air and closing with an audible crunch, even from the distance -
Metal clanks nearby and a horned creature starts towards Mutt, a heavy mace in one hand and armor made of popcan tabs decorating its' shaggy hide.
All they have is a knife, and a fairly short one at that. It's nowhere near a match for a mace. Mutt turns and runs, but it's more like swimming, now, with the rising and the falling and the shifting of the land.
The ground parts beneath Mutt's feet, and they have just enough time to escape the growing gash in the land as a beast rises from within it, made of the land and the sky, gleaming and slowly turning into mercury-crystal, howling in rage, long and serpentine, horns twisting up from its head, then sprouting along its body, a rippling wave of threat as it rushes towards the edge of enemy land.
Your world is shrinking around you.
Your keeper is dying.
Are you dying?
Mutt doesn't want to die. They keep running-swimming-fighting their way through the ruined land, trying to reach an end, to get to somewhere else. They don't want to die. They can see something in the distance that is not being torn apart, or they think they do. They grit their teeth and keep moving, trying to ignore the shouts and shrieks and screams around them.
The edges twist, ripple, rumble, and start to surge after their footsteps, the ground itself starting to stick, to try to cling and suck to their feet and hold them back. Every step becomes harder, peeling away strands of the ground, ripping it apart as Mutt tries to rip themselves free and reach safety.
The ground surges and a massive hand bursts up, looming overhead, comes crashing down just as a hand locks around Mutt's arm from the haze of the fragmenting world and pulls them out of the way.
The hand shatters into shards of crystal and horn, slicing at everyone in the surroundings... but the hand on Mutt's arm is firm, pulling them towards a section of the world that's no longer ripping apart.
Mutt yelps and kicks and tries to get away before realizing that whoever has them is taking them to safety. They don't know who it is, or what they want, but it's better than sticking to the ground. They go limp and wait for the hand to release them.
The woman glances at them, baring a mouthful of knife-sharp teeth, and hisses, jerking Mutt's arm. The flesh of their hand seems to bubble, many little spots pressing and receding away moment by moment, and Mutt can see that there are shapes under her skin, shifting around, moving, like there are myriad tiny hands pressing against the interior of her flesh, trying to break free and escape. "Keep Walking! We're almost to the edge! Do you want to be ripped to pieces along with everything else?!"
"No! I don't want to!" They try to gain a foothold on the ground and it's easier to move than it was before. They're only barely able to keep up with the woman, and occasionally they're yanked forward by her grip on their arm, but it's not too long before the steady place seems just ahead.
There's a woman at the edge, grinning wide with a mouthful of glittering needlesharp teeth, watching the last of your Keeper's lands splinter and fall, giggling happily - turning her head to look towards Mutt and their apparent savior with eyes made of gemstones. She tucks a strand of spun gold behind one ear and waves. "Oh, Hello. I see you managed to find another surviving straggler?"
She rocks on her heels, balancing on the distinct edges of the solid world as Mutt's feet reach security, then tilts her head, smiling bright. "So. Who are you going to be? I wonder, I wonder..."
The woman stiffens at Mutt's side, hand tightening on their arm. "...Lady, my troupe and I will weave you a new story. One you'll love. I swear. Let us keep him for the roles we need?"
A voice croaks from within her chest, a thin, emaciated being of smoke and embers clawing it's way out, bony fingers the only piece of their body that seems to still be solid. "Please, my Queen. Let us prove ourselves."
Mutt looks from one woman to the other, not understanding what is happening. Who are they going to be? Stories? They shift unconsciously closer to the woman who saved them.
The woman purses her lips, tilting her head. "...very well. But I expect a story that will be one for the ages... understand?" She takes a step forwards, holding a hand out to Mutt. "Let me take a look at you."
Mutt steps toward her hesitantly, feeling very small. It's clear that they've been ignored for a long time, eating only what food and wearing what clothing they could scrounge up for themselves. Their hair is uncut and they're sure their face is all smudged up.
They're not used to being noticed, and this attention is making them uncomfortable.
The Queen stretches out a hand, dull nails glinting of crystal before then move into Mutt's hair, ruffling it and running through to the knots before she tugs them closer, carding her fingers through until their hair is in a bit of a tidier state, humming under her breath, expression attentive as she straightens them up a bit. Her hands move down, wiping away smudges of grime from Mutt's face.
"...you'll certainly do, I think. Do you still have a name?" She tilts her head, looking down at them with an evaluating expression.
"I'm called Mutt," they tell her. It's all the name they have, even if it's just what everyone calls them when they want them to get out of the way.
"...hm." Her eyes drop to Mutt's knife, and she reaches down, running a finger over it's edge - at her touch, the metal shudders, reforming into a new shape. "...very interesting. I like it. It's time to go home, Mutt."
Mutt glances backwards for a moment at the ruined land. "But..." But it's clearly gone now, whatever had been there for them before. "Okay. Home."
The Queen wraps a gentle arm around Mutt's shoulders. "Forget that place. It was terrible, anyway. Awful and dull, stagnant with no stories worth telling, and certainly with none worth our time now , isn't that right?"
The woman with the shifting skin and her smouldering 'friend' murmur assent, with the one made of smoke purring out a: "but that ending was a very good scene, my Queen."
She pauses, then beams, face splitting ear to ear. "...it was , wasn't it? Hmm. I think little Mutt and the rest of our new player-troupe will get a party to greet them. A grand feast, something lovely, impressive-"
Her voice and touch fade, collapsing out of existence as the world shudders and the ground rushes beneath Mutt's feet. Or. It. Feels as though it moves?
It's disorienting, for sure.
Within a step, there's a beautiful, sprawling estate, gorgeous but dilapitated here and there in the best of ways, a curious ruin that seems to bring the question of what mysteries and wonders it has hidden within it rising up in one's heart just from the sight of it.
There are more familiar faces nearby, now, many just as concerned and worried about their circumstances, injured but alive, some shaking and clutching at their new guides, even when the very touch tears at their skin.
( A woman of delicate origami clings to another whose skin is covered in thorns, every scrap of flesh a weapon and the delicate flesh of the pale woman's hands split and pierced where she holds on for safety and security, bleeding a slow drip of pastel blue down the dark blue-green spikes of her 'guard's' flesh. )
There's a small garden of delicate, glowing vines and crystaline flowers nearby, with little supports that appear to be... bone...? Tiny, tiny bones... helping some of the vines climb into intricate shapes.
"...well. we're home." The woman next to Mutt grumbles, the outline of a tiny hand pushing out under one eye, reaching towards the building, defined and clear for a precious handful of seconds before returning to rejoin the rest of the moving mass under her skin.
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